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How to Care for an Aluminum Sword

July 19, 2017

How to Care for an Aluminum Sword

Stainless steel and high-carbon steel are the most popular choice of metals used in the construction of swords. Stainless steel is characterized by the addition of chromium, further protecting it against rust and corrosion. High-carbon steel, on the other hand, contains higher concentrations of carbon, giving the blade a superior level of strength and hardness.

But swords are made of other metals as well, including aluminum. To learn more about aluminum swords and care for them, keep reading.

Aluminum Swords: The Basics

Aluminum is often used to make practice swords, including the Japanese iaito. Aluminum itself is a soft, nonmagnetic metal in the boron group. It's also one of the most common elements on Earth, only behind oxygen and silicone respectively. Aluminum practice swords are often preferred over traditional steel swords for beginners.

Aluminum Sword Pros

  • Because of its widespread availability and 100% recyclable properties, aluminum swords are cheaper than steel swords.
  • Aluminum is lightweight, with a lower weight by volume than most other metals.
  • Aluminum swords have a shiny chrome finish that many collectors and martial arts practitioners prefer.

Aluminum Sword Cons

  • Aluminum swords are less susceptible to rust and corrosion than steel swords.
  • Aluminum swords have a shorter lifespan than swords made of other metals.
  • Due to the nuances in composition, aluminum swords cannot be heat treated in the same manner as traditional Japanese steel swords.
  • The edge of an aluminum sword doesn't hold as easily as that of a steel sword.

For these reasons and others, aluminum swords are generally recommended for beginners, either for collecting or practicing martial arts.

Maintaining and Caring for an Aluminum Sword

But if you choose an aluminum sword, you should take the necessary precautions to preserve its integrity and aesthetics. For starters, aluminum is not as hard as steel and it can be easily scratched. You should take a pre-caution that the blade is not rubbed against other hard surfaces.

Photo credit: Sergii Gulenok

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